By: Jessica Cote
Dr. Matt Doherty is a Project/Research Scientist at Therapeutic Systems Research Laboratories, an Ann Arbor-based company specializing in preclinical research on promising antimicrobial drugs. He was formerly a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Infectious Disease at the University of Michigan Medical School in the lab of Dr. Thomas Schmidt. During his post-doc, he researched the human gut microbiome —the collection of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms in the body. He previously did research with Dr. Pat Schloss in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology to understand how the microbiome changes when people are treated for Crohn’s disease, which will help develop tools to diagnose and predict the disease.
For Matt, teaching students about science has been one of the most rewarding aspects of his career. In addition to conducting research as a post-doc fellow, Matt was also an instructor for BIO173 at University of Michigan, which provides students with an authentic, hands-on research experience. Together with Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Niel Baxter, Matt helped teach students about the gut microbiome using a very unique assignment—the students collected samples of their own poop during the semester! Students then used the information from their samples to study how a starch supplement added to their diet influences their microbiome.
During Michigan DNA Day 2017, Matt shared advice with students at Huron High School about planning for a career in science. He recommends that students pursue research experiences as soon as possible to see if they enjoy it and might like to continue doing research in undergraduate and graduate school. He also wants students to know that a research scientist position, like his, is only one of many jobs in science. Other options include jobs related to health care policy, development of medications, and science education, just to name a few. Matt looks forward to meeting and mentoring more students during Michigan DNA Day 2018.